How to Clear Snow with a Snow Blade

Your Kubota’s snow blade – an implement that is earning its keep this winter! Record snow falls all across North America has meant a lot of seat time for Kubota tractor owners as they push, pile, blade and bucket their way through winter! Even if your Kubota tractor is equipped with a front end loader, there are still a lot of reasons to have this handy, often under rated, implement.

A typical snow blade that has seen some use. This one, manufactured by Farm King, is in "back blade" position and attached to a Kubota B6200.

A typical snow blade that has seen some use. This one, manufactured by Farm King, is in back blade position and attached to a Kubota B6200.

General Blading Technique
The general steps to clearing your driveway with a snow blade would be:

  1. adjust the discharge angle by pulling the clevis pin at the top of the blade and rotating the blade – we typically have it somewhere in the middle
  2. lengthen or shorten your top link to change your blade’s tilt with the ground (its aggressiveness) – for an even less aggressive blade, flip it around to back blade
  3. if necessary, add some additional weight to the blade assembly so that your implement maintains its bite
  4. begin in the center of your driveway and make multiple passes toward the edges – do not worry about getting every bit of snow all in one pass – easy does it
  5. making use of tire chains or your Kubota’s differential lock (if equipped) will help you out if traction becomes a problem
  6. if you are clearing snow and your tractor bogs a lot, this is an indication that you are 1) being to aggressive with your blade tilt or 2) the angle of discharge needs to be increased to fire more snow off the end of the blade rather than dragging it all

Adjusting the Blade Angle
All snow or grader blades are built with a sturdy frame that attaches to the tractors 3 point hitch. The blade may be fixed to the frame or it may be adjustable, allowing the operator to angle the discharge of snow, dirt or gravel off to one side. Pulling the clevis pin allows the blade to be angled up to 30 degrees left or right, across 4 or 5 discrete positions. The blade may also be fully rotated backwards. Operating the implement in this manner is referred to as back blading.

Pull the clevis pin on your snow blade to swing to another angle or to completely reverse it.

Pull the clevis pin on your snow blade to swing to another angle or to completely reverse it.

Schematic displaying snow blade attachment to 3 point hitch, clevis pin and 5 adjustment positions to give up to 30 degrees of blade angle.

Schematic displaying snow blade attachment to 3 point hitch, clevis pin and 5 adjustment positions to give up to 30 degrees of blade angle.

Adjusting the Blade Angle of Attack
When we say angle of attack we are referring to the angle the edge of the blade makes with respect to the surface you are grading – in other words, the tilt of the blade. Lengthening the top link will change this angle of attack and make the blade more aggressive. Shortening the top link does the opposite – allows the blade to still move snow or gravel, but reduces the frequency that the blade digs in as much as much on uneven ground.

Adjusting the blade agressiveness - lengthen top link to increase blade agressiveness, shorten for a softer blade.

Adjusting the blade agressiveness - lengthen top link to increase blade agressiveness, shorten for a softer blade.

Blade Moldboard
Your blade might be equipped with what is known as a moldboard, like we have on our 60″ Farm King Series 30 here. The part of the blade that contacts the ground is called the moldboard and higher quality blades typically have replaceable moldboards. Once the contact edge of the moldboard has become sufficiently worn, it can be unbolted and inverted, giving a fresh sharp cutting edge once again.

We have a moldboard on the bottom of this Farm King Series 30 which allows us to 1) invert the moldboard for a fresh cutting surface and 2) replace the moldboard only instead of the whole blade.

We have a moldboard on the bottom of this Farm King Series 30 which allows us to 1) invert the moldboard for a fresh cutting surface and 2) replace the moldboard only instead of the whole blade.

Adding a Little Weight
Since the 3 point hitch on your tractor does not have hydraulic down pressure the effectiveness of the attached implement often governed by its weight. A blade of substantial mass will resist riding up on a hard pack of snow or dry compacted earth. Providing you do not exceed the maximum lift capacities of your 3 point hitch (measured at the ball tips), then adding a little weight to either the blade frame, the blade itself, or both, can greatly improve the ability of the blade to function. We have short sections of railway track bolted securely to the frame and the blade to give us this extra weight for best results.

It goes without saying that no one should ever ride on a snow blade, or any implement for that matter. Generally no one should be at the rear, working end of a tractor.

Gravel Driveway or Parking Lot? Consider Back Blading
You may want to consider back blading if you are clearing snow off a gravel driveway or parking area. When the snow blade is rotated backwards it will operate in its least aggressive fashion. The blade will not cut into the roadway and will not accumulate gravel in the blade. You will still be able to move a large volume of snow and if the blade becomes overwhelmed with product it will slightly ride up and slide over the snow, rather than bogging down your tractor.

Service Department Vic

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1 Comment »

  1. FrightCrazyJim Jones Said,

    February 10, 2010 @ 11:18 am

    My Kubota L-185 with front end loader and rear scraper blade is doing a wonderful job moving the heavy snow. Scooping the snow forward and dumping the snow in high piles in the forward direction and plowing the snow in reverse gives me a huge advantage. Pictures at my Facebook page under FrightCrazyJim Jones.

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